Intelligence: Siemens Slimed Over Sleazy Sales

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April 10,
2008:
Israel believes that Iran has obtained its new electronic monitoring and
analysis equipment from German firm Siemens. The new gear is being used in
recently established listening posts in Syria. Iran has long obtained high tech
military equipment from Germany, legally or otherwise. Iraq, under Saddam, was
also a major customer for such gear. Iraq got the equipment to build its
chemical weapons factories from Germany. This was dual use stuff (nerve gas is
basically insecticide modified to kill mammals instead of insects.) Siemens has
supplied Iran with over half a billion dollars worth of high-tech equipment and
is being investigated for paying $30 million in bribes to Iranian officials to
get these sales. The U.S. and Israel have tried to persuade Siemens to stop
selling technically legal technology to Iran. The electronic monitoring
equipment could be justified as non-military because it can be used by police
to pursue criminal investigations. Iranian police are most interested in
keeping tabs of political opponents. The last time there were free elections,
about 80 percent of the population voted against the clerics who run the
religious dictatorship in Iran. So the police have a lot of opponents to
monitor. The German government is reluctant to crack down on Siemens, because
all those shipments to Iran help keep the high unemployment rate in Germany
from getting higher. Siemens insists it's done nothing illegal, except maybe,
possibly, for the bribes (or "sales commissions", as Siemens insists calling the
payments.)

 


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